[The Lambeth Conference Company] Four – year trip 15th The Lambeth conference has begun. During 2021, bishops from almost every part of the Anglican community met online to consider how we can truly be ‘God’s church for God’s world’ 21.st Century.
This current ‘listening togetherThe ‘phase consisted of a series of online‘ episcopal talks ’—group discussions between bishops from all the provinces — to prepare for a face-to-face conference. The bishop’s spouses also met for online conversations.
When the Lambeth Conference meets in Canterbury, it will be the second phase of the trip, with a focus onwalking together. ‘It will take place between 27th July and 7th August 2022.
After the 2022 conference meeting, it will be the third ‘witness together’ phase. This will include further online work that will continue for at least the next two years. It is our prayer that after the event, further discussions result in a series of “calls to the Lambeth Conference to act,” to ensure that their conclusions are possessed and shared throughout the community.
This will provide continuity to the episcopal talks and ensure that the common responsibilities discussed at the conference are transferred around the Anglican community.
Lambeth Conference in Canterbury 2022
Next year’s event will be the first Lambeth conference since 2008. In a normal ten-year cycle, the conference would be held in 2018, but after extensive consultation, it was recognized that holding the conference would then be premature. The deep divisions that have existed for many years are far broader than the question of sexuality and stem in many ways from the structure of the Anglican community and the need for a constant journey towards the postcolonial model of the global church. It took more work and preparation. As a result, the conference was postponed to 2020. Then in 2020, the Lambeth Conference was again postponed to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this point, we continue to plan a personal event to be held in Canterbury in 2022, with appropriate health and safety measures COVID19. We hope and pray that as many people as we can join us. A face-to-face meeting will be the most fruitful way to build relationships and discuss important topics in our lives as an Anglican community.
Given ongoing changes in travel requirements and quarantine or the challenges of equitable vaccine distribution around the world, some bishops might still find it difficult to travel to the UK next year. Therefore, the conference planning team is also working to make some parts of the event available online. Every effort is made to bring people together and hear all voices equally.
God’s Church for God’s World – Let us share our calling with the guidance of a servant
The theme of the Lambeth Conference for 2022 is “God’s Church for God’s World: Walking, Listening, and Witnessing Together.” We are eager to turn outward, to engage God’s world in the wonderful and amazing transformation that is at the heart of the salvation offered in Christ.
In this world we are called to witness the good news of Jesus Christ and to strive to make disciples of every nation. It is a world where pressures on the Church are increasing year by year, and the number of modern martyrs in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq and many other countries continues to grow day by day.
This is a world in which the number of local conflicts has increased. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, there are more than 170 militias raping, looting, torturing and killing in large areas of the village. Many other countries around the world face great conflict, suffering, fear and violence.
To gather the bishops and their spouses — many of them from these perishing lands — means to gather those who know the cost of the call to episcopal ministry and bear the burden of leading the servant. We will find great comfort and support as we share together – we are not forgotten either. We will gain fresh resilience, a new vision, refreshment, and joy as we meet God who meets us in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
God’s Church for God’s World – What will we discuss at the Lambeth Conference?
The Lambeth Conference will meet for prayer, Bible study, and dialogue on church and world issues. Looking at the world around us, the focus will be on a few clear topics:
- Evangelization, witness and mission.
- Persecution and resistance of the Church and its global support.
- An urgent climate situation, which is already affecting the lives of Anglicans in the community, especially those who are the poorest and most vulnerable.
- The impact of new science and technology on everything from warfare to health, education, technology and communication. To this end, a new Commission for the Science of the Anglican Communion will be very active during the conference.
- Reconciliation and peace building in a world where people are less and less capable of disagreement.
- Prayer and the growth of religious community, so that by reading the scriptures, praying together, we rediscover our love for the living and risen Jesus Christ who meets with us when we call on him for help.
- Pandemic Response: Sharing together on the impact of COVID-19 in different contexts around the world, and in particular on its impact on the poorest nations and communities.
God’s Church for God’s World – Our Common Life as an Anglican Community
The conference will also explore internal issues in the life of the Anglican Community. We will try to find a way forward on issues that have divided us for so long about marriage, sexuality, and relationships. It is unlikely that we will have a common understanding. We are a global community with more than 2,000 languages and such deeply ingrained and probably different views of what is good and bad, both in culture and in our understanding of the Bible. But that is what makes the Church different. We are called to find ways to continue together, knowing that we belong to one another and to obey Jesus ’commands to love one another, and where we disagree, we disagree well.
It must also be clear to us what should be part of the Anglican community as part of God’s church. The Anglican community is an extraordinary, wonderful and powerful collaboration of rich and poor, powerful and weak. A true expression of the vision of the Church we find in the New Testament.
Yet too often he slipped into the instrument of power, the absolute opposite of discipleship in the service of Jesus Christ. Some groups intend to change the way the Anglican community works so that those outside the province can interfere in its actions and tell people what to do. There is a danger of becoming a community that finds itself in a bunch of small groups claiming extraterritorial jurisdiction.
This is contrary to the understanding of the Church from the New Testament onwards, clearly set forth in the great ecclesiastical councils. It reverses the understanding of what it is like to be an Anglican, which was established at the first Lambeth conference. It tries to narrow us from becoming a global church with an open door and a heart of love for the needy to one that – instead of depending on Christ and the Holy Spirit to attract those who are not yet members – sets its own tests based on its way of working.
Anglicanism is both Catholic and Reformed. Both our Catholicism and the traditions of the Reformation need to be renewed so that each person is accountable to God for his decisions, and the churches are autonomous but interdependent in love.
Lambeth Conference – brings our voices together
Gathering people and equally preserving all the voices from around the world is what the Lambeth Conference is all about. We thank the approximately 500 bishops and spouses from several provinces who registered for their online conversations during 2021. This deepens relationships, prays together, builds a deeper understanding of the Bible, and supports the flourishing of God’s church.
We invite and invite all Anglican bishops from the Anglican community to participate in pre-conference discussions and to register for a personal event if they have not already done so.
The Anglican Communion has the potential, under God, to be an extraordinary, historical force for the good in the life of our world. Let us pray for everything we do, and especially for the Spirit to renew and resolutely send us through this conference, to be witnesses of Christ to the end of God’s world.
For the latest Lambeth conference news and episcopal talks, visit the Lambeth conference website.